Economic growth since 1850 has relied on relatively cheap but finite non-renewable resources such as oil and minerals. In the decades to come, the increasing scarcity of such non-renewable resources will lead to supply constraints and price increases which in turn are likely to have significant impacts on society. At the same time, the impacts of climate change will become increasingly felt with a steady rise in the number and magnitude of extreme weather events and environmental degradation with subsequent negative effects on growth. Taken together, these two factors represent a significant change in the environment in which social security is, and will be, operating.
The implications for social security are potentially dramatic. Whilst available financial resources are likely to decrease, demands will increase due to a fall in population wealth, the impacts of extreme climatic events, changes in morbidity and other effects of climate change such as increasing migration and displacement rates. A fundamental re-think of the role of social security systems in this context is required if they are to continue to meet their objectives.
This presentation considers the impacts of these changes before setting out measures that social security systems need to consider and adopt, in order to address, mitigate and influence the negative effects. A number of examples of practical and effective measures that social security institutions have taken are highlighted.